2017 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Kids

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Kids

Disclosure: Product(s) featured in this Holiday Gift Guide were provided to me free of cost to me for inclusion in the holiday gift guide, however, all thoughts and opinions belong solely to me. Happy shopping!


Finally, we've arrived at the final section of my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide. I've done several gift guides in the past, and the kids section is always my favorite section. As an 80's baby, our toys weren't quite as 'next level' as this generations, and I can't help but be in awe of at the tech savvy and educational options for kids toys are out there. It was actually hard not to go off the rails and just list all the things, but here are some of my favorite picks for the kiddos this holiday season!

Remember, there's still time to enter into my Amazon Gift Card Giveaway! Just scroll to the bottom of the page and fill out the Rafflecopter widget in order to enter the giveaway.

To view all four gift guides, check out the links below!

For the Moms Holiday Gift Guide
For the Dads Holiday Gift Guide
For the Teens Holiday Gift Guide
For the Kids Holiday Gift Guide

Good luck and happy shopping



PBS KIDS Playtime Pad


Recommended ages: 2+


What They Say:

Kids can learn alongside their favorite PBS KIDS characters with hours of educational video clips, songs, and preloaded games-- no wi-fi needed. Parents can customize each child's experience by approving or blocking content, managing apps, or setting time limits.


What I Think;

Of course I'm going to kick off the kids category with a tablet. By the age of 2 more than 90% of two year olds have started using tablets and smart devices. In fact, the majority of schools are starting to incorporate them into the classroom. To a certain degree, learning how to operate a tablet has become expected by the time your kid goes off to kindergarten.

The PBS KIDS Playtime Pad is a great way to slowly introduce your kids into a tech savvy world, while still allow you to control what they're being exposed to. This 7" HD 1024 x 600 Multi-Touch Screen tablet comes with 120 video clips, songs and music videos featuring your kid's favorite PBS KIDS characters and 25+ pre-loaded educational games that reinforce your kid's science, math, social emotional and literacy skill. Additionally, it has front and back cameras, parental controls, and can be operated without wi-fi. The wi-fi part is essential if you travel often and find yourself in an area without wi-fi.

We're no strangers to tablets. Little J currently has two, one that she's outgrown, and another which she occasionally uses, but this one is one of the best so far. For one, it came with a protective case. That's a serious bonus because with the other two, we had to purchase a protective case separately. Then there's the fact that it comes pre-loaded with games and several incredibly useful (and FREE) apps: PBS KIDS Scratch Jr, PBS Parents Play & Learn and the award-winning PBS KIDS Video app. Again, another major bonus because the other tablets basically required you to purchase your games separately, and that eventually adds up.

Overall, we were incredibly impressed with the PBS KIDS Playtime Pad and would recommend it to parents of small children who want to introduce their kiddos to technology without exposing them the full ability of the internet.

Price: $79.99

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Wonder Workshop Wonder Pack 






What They Say:

Dash is a real robot, charged and ready to play out of the box. Responding to voice, navigating objects, dancing, and singing, Dash is the robot you always dreamed of having. Dot is a clever little robot with multiple sensors and a quirky personality. Dot’s projects range from crafting and active play to storytelling and construction.

What I Think:

As I mentioned in my introduction, I'm in awe with the tech kids these days have access to. Never could I have imagined that my daughter would own a robot, let alone two. And the thought that my 6 year old would actually be learning how to code before Middle School is mind boggling.

Two robots come with the Wonder Pack. Dash, the larger robot is capable of moving around, and Dot, the smaller of the two. Even though Dot doesn't move around, there is still plenty of fun to be had. The Wonder Pack also comes with several accessories that allow your kiddos to really tap into their creative nature. We let Little J spend a bit of time familiarizing herself with both robots. Though she's played with plenty of robots in the past, these are two of the most interactive she's had the opportunity to test out.

There's an app Blocky that can be downloaded via IOS and Android that makes the experience even better.  For those who haven't had experience using coding apps, rest assured, it's incredibly easy to use and is a great first step into coding. The best part is it's so fun that your kiddos won't think of it as work.

The Dash and Dot Robot can be purchased separately, or together in the Wonder Pack. Though it's a bit pricey, the Wonder Pack is well worth the money for what you're getting and is a GREAT Christmas gift for your tiny tinkers because it allows them to learn the intricacies of coding without them realizing it. Before you know it, you'll have coding geniuses capable of programming their own devices.

Price: $279.99

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Thimble Subscription Box


 

Recommended ages: 9+


What They Say:

Thimble is a unique direct-to-your-door monthly delivery subscription that contains a project with electronic components to teach kids and adults how to build a fun and useful device. Every month, you'll receive kits that help you understand the fundamentals of electronics and how hardware and software come together so you can innovate and invent from the comfort of your own home.

What I Think:

I'm going to be honest, I'm not sure who is more excited about the Thimble subscription box. My kiddo, or my husband. In fact, out of all the products we got to review for this gift guide, this was the one that most impressed my husband. While some of the projects may be intended for older kids, we're actually going to keep our monthly service with Thimble because we're both believers in getting our kids started young. We know for a fact that our kids will be competing with all kids of tech and science savvy kids throughout their school years, so by getting them excited about learning how things work now, they stand a better chance of keeping up the pace in their later years.

Plus, this is an awesome way to connect with your kids. We were completely surprised with how quickly our 6  year old was able to reason and work her way through some of these projects. The kit we received was really useful in our everyday lives. We worked on the Building your compass kit. To get started, we created a Thimble account, and clicked on the LED Compass Module.

From there, we were given specific instructions on how to assemble the compass. Once we finished with the compass, they provided additional information on how to program it.

Again, this is an ideal gift for an older kiddo (9+), but fear not, you can get your kids started at a young age. Even if they spend the majority of the time watching you build the kits yourself, it still exposing them to important skills at a young age.


Price: $59.99- $89.99/ Per Month

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Circle, By Disney


 

Recommended ages: All ages


What They Say:

Circle pairs with your home Wi-Fi and lets you manage every device on your network, both wireless and wired, without ever needing to put software on them.

What I Think:

I was a bit hesitant about which category to include The Circle in. While it's intended to keep your kids safe and restrict limited access to screen time, it's also a gift for parents because it acts as an "enforcer." Ultimately, I decided to include it in the Kids Gift Guide because it is intended to make the internet more kid-friendly and does the monitoring so that you don't have to.

We were sent The Circle about four weeks ago, and since then, it has become a valuable member of the family. As a mom, it makes screen time easier because I'm not constantly looking over my kids shoulder to see what type of content she is accessing. As a kid, I imagine that makes screen time more enjoyable.

Some of my favorite features:

-- Insights
-- Filters
-- Ad blocking
-- Internet pause
-- Guest(s) profile
-- Bedtime setting

While Little J isn't exactly at the age where she gets much "alone" time with her smart devices, the insight options on The Circle do allow us to see what websites she's visiting, and how long she's spending on her devices in general. I also really love the bedtime setting because it allows us to completely shut down her ability to access her devices during bedtime.

To make things more exciting, on the dashboard, each member has access to fun Disney videos, music, blogs, GIF's and more!


Price: $89.99

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Fingerlings


Recommended Ages 5+


What They Say:

With Fingerlings, fun is always close at hand. Literally! These baby monkeys cling to your fingers and go where you go. They react to sound, motion and touch, make fun little monkey noises, and move in ways that will make you squeal with delight.

What I Think:

I'm a big believer that sometimes the greatest gifts come in small packages. Fingerlings is proof of this theory. Sometimes it's nice to take a break from all the super-high tech toys and take it back to the old school.

Some of the fun things they do: 

-- Say hello
-- Blow kisses
-- Giggle
-- Burp

In total, they perform about 40 different actions, and come in 6 different colors. Each color fingerling has a different name and personality, sorta like our own kiddos.  It was really fun to watch Little J come up with fun ways to make them react. It's also nice to have a toy that is pretty simple to operate and doesn't require constant supervision. They allow kids to return to their creative nature and have fun experimenting with their pet pals.

Fingerlings are reasonably priced for the amount of fun they provide. They make great stocking stuffers, or gifts for kids ages 5 and older. You can even buy accessories to pair with your Fingerlings.

Price: $14.99

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Lego ATM Heist Battle


 

Recommended ages: 6-12


What They Say:

Help Spider-Man to stop the masked robbers burglarizing the bank in this action-packed LEGO® Marvel Super Heroes ATM Heist Battle set. 2 robbers are equipped with a stud-shooting ATM Buster and a gun with hybrid-tech chain to drag the removable ATM away, plus a getaway bike. Attach and fire Spider-Man’s Power Blast weapons to take down the villains.

What I Think:

Like most kids, my kid is a fan of Legos. In fact, sometimes it seems like the smaller they are, the more she'll enjoy spreading them out on the floor and leaving them in unsuspecting places. Because of the small pieces, I would suggest keeping them out of the hands of your littlest tinkers, but for kids ages 6-12, they'll be happy to unwrap this gift on Christmas day.

Again, this is another present that brings back the simplicity of what it means to be a child. It involves zero screen time and is relatively easy to construct.

Price: $19.99

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Digiloom




Recommended Ages: 8+


What They Say:

Have fun weaving bracelets, headbands, bookmarks and more with this unique app-controlled interactive loom! Design your own fun patterns and statements, or choose from a variety of pre-made designs in the Digiloom App. Next, weave your designs into reality with the help of Digiloom™.

What I Think

Out of all the products in the Kids Gift Guide this year, the Digiloom is definitely in the top 3. It combines all those fun memories of weaving Summer Camp friendship bracelets with new school technology that simplifies the process.

The starter kit comes with: 1 interactive loom, 8 reusable digibands, 8 thread colors, 2 shuttles, 1 app, and 8 patterns. To use it, you simply pop in 4 AA batteries, connect it to the app, and let your creativity flow.

We first stumbled upon Wowee products last Christmas when we purchased Little J her first official robot-- Coji, and we've been hooked on their products since then. What makes them so remarkable, is that they actually incorporate kid testing groups into the process of creating their products. That means that each of their toys have passed vigorous testing to ensure that they are both educational and fun. As in the case of Digiloom, it certainly shines in both areas.

The Digiloom is a great gift for kids ages 8+ who have an artistic side. The best part? Once the kiddos are done playing, moms can pull it out to make all sorts of useful items, like name tags for the inside of our kiddos coats, and holiday gift tags.

Price: $39.99

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Bookroo Subscription Box




Recommended ages: 0-6


What They Say:

What's in our childrens book club box? Boxes with picture books come with 2 hardcover books. Boxes with board books come with 3 books. Our goal is to send hidden gems rather than classics. Our books are extensively reviewed by a panel of 12 families.

What I Think:

Mr. A and I are BIG readers. So you can imagine how frustrating it is when you have a kiddo that's a bit meh when it comes to reading. And we're not alone. More often than not, the best way to get your kids excited about reading, is to get them started as early as possible. Though we did this with Little J, she still wasn't overly overjoyed about the processes of reading.

However, we did notice an increase in interest when boxes of books started showing up for her. Suddenly, she had something to look forward to. And sometimes, that can make all the difference.

Bookroo is a monthly subscription box service that send a box of books to your kids every month. You can select different ages from 0-6. The neat thing is, the books are carefully curated and are reviewed by a panel of families to ensure a unique selection of books, rather just what's most popular at the moment.

Price: $15.99-$17.99

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PBS KIDS Plug and Play


Recommended Ages: 0+

What They Say: 

The first kids’ TV and playtime streaming stick, PBS KIDS Plug & Play provides a one-stop destination for a variety of PBS KIDS educational content. Pre-loaded with sing-alongs, exclusive games and other original content that can all be accessed without Wi-Fi, PBS KIDS Plug & Play transforms any TV into an interactive, safe, educational playtime experience.

What I Think: 

I wish this had been around when Little J was a baby, but I'm incredibly grateful the team at PBS has designed the first kids streaming TV stick. For one, it offers peace of mind to parents who are trying to limit their kids exposure to certain TV shows. Secondly, it offers a ton of sing alongs, original content and exclusive games that can be accessed without Wi-Fi. Which is major if your internet happens to be down and you're stuck at home with a bored kid. Trust me, I've been there. And best of all, there’s no monthly subscription fee, so once you pay for it, you don't have to worry about monthly payment plans. Sweet.

The Plug and Play has been a welcome addition to our home. Though we own several Roku's, we've actually discontinued the use of one of them to make space for the Plug and Play. This gives us peace of mind that our kiddo isn't accessing questionable content while we're distracted. In my opinion, the one time fee, is well worth the cost of your sanity and if you're a PBS watcher, you know the MANY benefits to letting your kids watch PBS programming.

Price: $49.99

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Kidz Gear Boom Headphones




Recommended Ages: 2+


What I Think: 

Have you ever been on a road trip with a toddler who has a tablet and no earphones. It's hours upon endless hours of Disney sing-alongs. I've been there my friend, and I'm here to tell you that if you don't have a set of snazzy headphones for your kid(s) this Christmas is the perfect time to invest in a pair. Not only will your kids be incredibly happy to have their own pair, but you won't have to endure a two hour encore performance of "Let it Go."

These headphones are pretty cool because they look cool. And we all know that toddlers are fans of things that look cool. They're not overly expensive, which is nice, because we also know that kids are prone to breaking things. So while it's great to invest in a $100 pair of headphones for yourself, spending that kind of money on a set of earphones for your kids is likely to be a waste of money.

The Kidz Gear Boom headphones are volume limiting, so you don't have to worry about your kids cranking up the music and destroying their ear drums. They're also ideal for languages, test taking and gaming because they come equipped with a detachable microphone. Plus they are wireless and bluetooth connectable. In all, this is a good value for a pair of kid headphones.

Price: $19.99

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9 comments :

  1. That Digiloom is freaking sweet! I want that as an adult. You could set up a booth at a con or festival and make bracelets on the spot for cash.

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  2. I'd love to have the PBS KIDS PLAYTIME PAD for car rides!

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  3. My granddaughter has exposed me to FINGERLINGS! They are so cute. Thank yo.

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  4. The Thimble subscription box looks so fun!

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  5. I think my son would really enjoy the Thimble subscription box, I had never heard of this one before today.

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  6. Both of my kids could use a pair of the Kidz Gear Boom headphones. My daughter has reached the stage where she likes to have the volume on her tablet turned up to the max when she her headset is plugged in. It would be nice if she had pair that actually limited how high she could turn them up.

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  7. Great guide, would have loved a fingerling when I was a kid.

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  8. My daughter is dying for the Fingerlings monkey! I have to admit, they are pretty cute!

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  9. The FUJIFILM INSTAX MINI 9 looks like it would be a fun gift.

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